A Life Changing Experience

coals - (BDPC/BM)

"You Did WHAT?"

My wife and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Florida and the Caribbean, but this was unlike any other vacation we've taken. We had a great time on our cruise, but before that, we had an amazing experience at the Tony Robbins event "Unleash the Power Within"

It's very difficult to put into words what this experience did for me, but I think saying that my life will never be the same is a fair statement.

We started the seminar on a Thursday learning all about human needs, and what causes us to make decisions in life. We learned about FEAR, and how it keeps us from achieving our full potential if we don't learn to master it, and use it to our advantage.

Perhaps the greatest lesson from that first day was how to change my "State" through physical, mental, and emotional tools that Tony shared with us. By learning to put myself in a peak state of performance, at the end of the night I walked across a bed of 1500 degree burning coals!

It was incredible! I learned that the limits I thought I had are not real. I never thought I'd ever do anything like that, but after I walked across the coals, I suddenly started thinking: "If I can do that…what else can I do that I previously thought was not possible?"

I will be sharing some photos and videos of this experience over the coming days and weeks, and I look forward to implementing some amazing positive changes in my life that will only help my coaching and speaking practice!

Thanks as always for reading.

Please comment below by clicking the small "comments" link. I welcome your contributions!

Keeping it Simple

"Life is Full of Simple Pleasures"

We've all heard that phrase numerous times I'm sure. Today, I got yet another reminder of how complicated I can make things sometimes, and how simple most things really are.

Most of you know I've recently moved to New York City, which can be a pretty fast paced, and complicated place.

After my lunch appointment, I decided to get off the bus one stop early and head into an office supply store to pick up a few items. My first item was simple. I needed a ream of paper. Check.

My second item I thought was simple, but I wandered around the store for 10 minutes looking for it. Finally, an associate came up to me and must have sensed my bewilderment as he asked "Are you ok sir? Can I help you find something?"

Normally in this situation I'd say "No thanks..I'm good". But today I decided to humble myself and admit I was completely clueless as to where to find this elusive item.

He asked me what I was looking for and I said the following:

"Well you see, I have this Samsonite leather pad that folds open and closed, and I need the loose sheets of paper that you stick on the inside and slide into a pouch…er um, well they're not loose sheets of paper, but a stack of paper, with a hard cardboard backing to them that slides into a pouch: ***BREATH** 

The associate said, "I know exactly what you mean". I continued by saying, "Really! Awesome! I don't know what they call those things, but I'm glad you understood"

He walked me over to the item and there it was!! He handed it to me and politely said "It's called a writing pad"

OHHHHH!!! A writing pad. Geez. Why could I not think of calling it that? Probably, because I was thinking too much. 

The associate smiled, and I thanked him for his help. He could tell I really needed this today.

The takeaway from this experience?? 

Keep it Simple.

If I just stay out of my own way, and do the next right thing everything will work out just fine.

To illustrate this point. I will be keeping this article simple, and NOT adding a photo for today. :)

Thanks for reading!

What Moving Taught me About Leadership – Part 1

"Don't ask someone to do something for you that you are not willing to do yourself"


This past weekend, my wife and I took the plunge and moved into our new apartment in New York City. We have been planning and setting goals for this move to Manhattan for well over a year, but in the past 90 days, the plans led to actions, which led us to MOVING DAY!

Moving in and of itself is stressful, and having worked in the real estate industry for several years, I have seen first hand how this stress can affect even the calmest of people.

Moving to Manhattan adds some additional stress I think. Tasks such as driving the U-Haul truck through NYC streets with a truckload of furniture, having to find a parking space without creating a horn honking festival that can be heard from Brooklyn to Queens, and my personal favorite, hauling couches, matresses, and 40 boxes into the service elevator one piece at a time, on the coldest day in over 2 years.

While I knew this would not be easy, I must admit I allowed the stress to completely take control of me on the night before our move. We hit some normal road blocks, and instead being my usual  "Mr. Positive – professional speaker and coach", I turned into "Mr. Whiner". Instead of just following my own advice of "one step at a time" and channeling the wisdom of my famous quotes..I melted! I got angry, irritable, and showed off my inner 2 year old.

Crying Out Loud

I needed a coach. I needed some leadership to help me through those tough moments.

Enter…my wonderful wife.

She did her very best to cheer me up, calm me down, but knowing me like she does…she realized that the best thing she could do was just keep working on her part of the move. She led me by example. What she didn't realize was that by just doing her work in a fantastic way, when I woke up the next morning, I was inspired to do the same.

She could have yelled, screamed, and made me feel worse, but she knew the best thing she could do was stay positive, and keep working. That's her style. She's been called "lunchpail" by supervisors in the past, because she is so dependable and has a calm, quiet leadership persona.

At the end of the "move-out" phase in NJ, my wife's leadership skills had caused 2 helpers to show up, unsolicited. By the time I came home from buying some extra packing supplies, she had successfully loaded the couches, the bed, and several boxes with her new found helpers. I was amazed, and very grateful. I got further inspred, and I'm pretty sure I've never moved as much weight as I did for the next 5 hours.

For more on this story…check back again soon for part 2. I had a chance to return the leadership favor on the "move IN"

Thanks for reading!

Photo Credits: ejhogbin macfrancis_12

Happiness Leads to Success

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"

 - Abraham Lincoln


I remember the first time I read that quote. I was not in a good place mentally, and thought to myself "How can I be happy when I have all of these things happening to ME?"

What I didn't realize then is that happiness is not something that I achieve when things in my life line up the way I think they should be. No, happiness I have come to learn is an "inside job"

Abe Lincoln articulated so beautifully the concept that took me years to understand.

I can choose to be happy!

The idea is to be grateful for what I have, and not upset over what I don't have. It's to celebrate the things in my life that bring joy, and looking at the setbacks as opportunities. Most importantly for me, it's learning to accept things I cannot change, and look for the opportunity to learn and grow in every challenge, instead of focusing on how terrible whatever is happening to me really is.

Easier said than done? DEFINITELY. But I am willing to admit that it's a work in progress for me. Every time I go through a struggle using this approach of choosing happiness, I find that not only do I feel better, but I am able to work through it with dignity and grace. I'm not perfect, and neither are you, but we can grow in small steps with this philosophy.

I'm not suggesting that we float through life pretending everything is OK when we are in a terrible circumstance, but we CAN approach each day as a fresh opportunity to change our perspective, one little piece at a time.

Over time, this approach to challenges becomes a habit, much like brushing your teeth. You all know people like this in your life that have overcome tremendous adversity, but never complain, never whine, or never look for sympathy. They just accept the situation, decide to be happy, and work through whatever challenge it is, because that's all they can control. I always want to be remembered as one of "those" people. That means I would be following my own advice (and reading my own blog) :)

If these benefits aren't enough, Success Magazine interviewed Harvard University faculty member Shawn Achor, who researched this topic and found that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Biologically, these positive feelings trigger the release of dopamine into our system, which causes our brains to work at their peak performance.

Similar studies have also shown that staying in this state of mind for long periods of time actually strengthens the immune system, by reducing the stress induced levels of certain hormones in our body. So it is true that happier people are healthier people.

Thanks for reading!

 Photo Credit: Michael Francis McCarthy

Your Best Investment is YOU

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." – Benjamin Franklin

Keys To Community: Ben Franklin and flag

This recession has raised a lot of talk about investments, and triggered discussions about the best place to invest your money. One thing I've noticed about successful people, and great businesses during this recession is that they always invest in themselves.

Investing in yourself is absolutely the best investment you can make during any economic times, but especially during difficult times. I know many people who have lost their jobs, and have since committed themselves to learning new skills, and even starting new businesses, because they believe in what Ben Franklin said. No matter what happens, no one can take away your knowledge, your ambition, and your determination.

Investing Still Requires Work

I don't think Ben Franklin was implying that if you just paid a lot of money for books and workshops or college degrees, that you would be guaranteed a successful life. You can't buy success. Investing in yourself means that you actually have to read the books, and apply the knowledge. Or, hire the coach, and take their advice. Or start that business, but work consistently to grow.

Too often, seminars are filled with people who come home with a book full of knowledge and ideas, but never act on them. This would be the equivalent of going to the doctor when you are sick, and not taking the medication he/she prescribed. If your life depended on that medication, or that exercise program, I'll bet you'd follow the program. Why not apply this same principle to your business, or any area of your life that you'd like to improve or grow.

Limitless Returns

My business mentor shared this analogy with me: Imagine you could invest in a company that had tremendous growth potential, had a product or service that nobody else had, and was currently undervalued. Suppose you knew facts about this company that the market place didn't know, or didn't believe. You would buy!

This is exactly what you are! No one can offer what you can offer. No one can grow like you can grow. And there is absolutely no limit on how much return you can get on your investment of time, energy and money, when you commit to believing in yourself, and buying!

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: jepsculpture

Leaders are Team Players, In Baseball, Business and at Home

Rotary Field, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, St. Marys Ontario_2962

 "We" vs "I"

I love sports, especially baseball. As a long time Phillies fan, I have been enjoying their recent success as a perennial playoff team. This season in particular though, I have been studying their success a lot more closely, as I've found a lot of parallels between their success, and what makes a successful business or family leader.

Last Wednesday, the Phillies' Roy Halladay pitched only the 2nd "No-Hitter" in Major League Playoff history. For you non-baseball fans, this means he successfully finished the game by recording all 27 outs, without allowing even one opposing player to get a hit.

Vocabulary of Leaders

After the game, the media flocked to Roy to ask him what was going through his mind, and how he was able to achieve such greatness. Each time he was interviewed, I heard the same message, and the same words used more frequently than any other word.

Those words were "We, they, their, he, his" not "I, me, my".Specifically, when asked what made that day so different for him, Halladay kept giving credit to his catcher, Carlos Ruiz, saying "He called a great game…we were very aggressive"

Last time I checked, the catcher didn't throw a single pitch, yet Halladay recognized that without the great game plan of his catcher, he would not have had success. When asked what this meant to him specifically, Halladay said "This is why I came here…to be in this atmosphere, and have a chance to win the World Series" – not once did he say anything about his no-hitter.

Baseball Team

Own the Blame – Share the Credit

This team mindset exhibited by Roy Halladay is a great example of leadership. He exhibits character qualities towards which we should all strive. When he has a bad game, Roy Halladay always takes the blame squarely on himself, and says he needs to perform better. When he has success, like this no-hitter, he always deflects the credit to his team, his catcher, and his manager. This is commendable in the business and family world as well.

True leaders don't need to take the credit, because they know that they are only as successful as the people they lead.

True leaders don't need to place blame on others, because they know that if they want something to be better in their organization, it starts with them.

Who do you need to thank today? Your employees, your spouse, your children, your coach? Whoever it is, take some time to show them how much you appreciate everything they do to help you live a successful life.

Do you need to take ownership of a business or personal mistake? Did you blame others when the responsibility was yours? It's never too late to make things right!

Thanks for reading.

 Photo Credits: Cushing memorial library and archives , bobolink

What is Your “WHY”?

Got Purpose? - Sermon Title

Why Do You Wake Up Every Day?

The obvious answers are: "To go to work, take my kids to school, earn a living, because I have to". Perhaps I should rephrase the question:

"What is your purpose for getting up" Or better yet "What is your WHY?"

One of the most important things I learned about how to work towards a fulfilling life was that I needed to tap into my WHY - bn other words, my reason for working. Sure, I need money to support myself and my family, but I could earn money doing a thousand different things.

I needed to ask myself more specific questions: Why do I choose to work as hard as I do, and as much as I do? Why did I choose this career? If I didn't have to work, what would I do? If I stopped working, who would miss my work, and why? (I borrowed that one from Lou Holtz)

I realize these are very philosophical questions, but from experience I can tell you that after I spent time examining myself, and learned about what really mattered most in my life, I saw that my career, my relationships, and my attitude changed tremendously! Yours will too. Even if you are thinking about changing jobs or careers, once you know more about your why, your choices will become so much easier.


This is a word that gets thrown around a lot. Many people say the secret to happiness is to live out your purpose. I agree with this statement, but HOW do we do it?

First, we need to understand what our priorities are. Ponder this –  If you had 1 day to live, and could do anything, be with anyone, or go anywhere. What would you do? With whom? Where?

The answers to these questions can help you uncover your real motivations in life. With regards to our work, another great question on which to reflect is:

"If I had an endless supply of money and didn't have to work another day in my life, what would I do with my time, and how would I spend that money?"

These are great journaling questions, or things to discuss with a spouse, a parent, or a best friend.

Professionally speaking, I coach people on aligning their passion with their purpose. When you work closer to this alignment, you will feel more fulfilled, more energized, and more eager to pop out of bed early each day to make it happen.

For more insight on passion, check out some of my other articles "What Excites You?" and "Know Your Passions"

Thanks as always for reading.

Sean Carroll

 Photo Credit : godserv